2006-07-28 - The Power of Words
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Who knew the words of a sixth grader would have so much power in my life? In grade school, I was usually the last person chosen for a game of tag, and stared at during lunch on pizza days. A popular girl in my school gave me the nickname "Lisa Pizza." She at times made fun of my clothes, because they weren't the latest style. "Where's the flood?" she would ask, staring at my pants this girl deemed too short for my body. Even though I had no desire to live up to her standards, the words hurt and made me feel something was wrong with me. It has been over twenty years, and still the sixth grader's vocal opinions leave an imprint in my mind.
Back then, I wasn't too familiar with the Scripture found in Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV) "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.'" Praying for the bully wasn't in the forefront of my mind. I was spending the day wondering how I could avoid the towering terrorizer.
After all these years, I can still remember the bully's name, the insults, and the way they made me feel - but there is a difference. Now as an adult, I don't believe the words, nor do I imagine they keep my school chum awake at night. Perhaps I did eat pizza differently than most, eating the cheese topping last, and yes, I was a little overweight for my size and age. It is true the closest thing in my life to fashion was looking over a clothes catalog for the best fit and price with my mom. These are just past qualities and tastes; they didn't say anything about my character or value to God. To God, I am a valuable person: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13)
Whether other people notice or not, I am no longer going to let their opinions dictate my life, for I am believing what God says about me. Who knows better, my creator or my harasser? If ever our paths should cross, and the sixth grader and I recognized each other, I honestly can't tell you how I would feel. It would be a mixture of emotions. Relief that I could finally put the past where it belongs, behind me. Happy she can see I am not the "Lisa Pizza" girl anymore, or would I be timid, afraid her unpleasant mouth hasn't changed. In all likelihood, I would wish her well and go on my way.
Today I am taking a step of faith, and I hope that you will join me on this road of forgiveness and freedom. This prayer speaks of forgiving someone from your past, and letting go of the pain the person caused you.
Lord, It is so easy to believe what others think about me. Help me to decipher what is truth and what is nonsense, and what goes against what You say about me. I pray and release past wounds from my past. I pray You will restore my adversary to a life worthy of You, and pray the person will also find peace. I want to forgive this person, and ask that the past experience will no longer have a negative effect on my life. I stake my claim on Psalm 139:14, which says I am wonderfully made. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.